Smuggled immigrants to UK from Spain 

Image of Krista Mikkonen the Finnish Interior Minister. Credit: [email protected]

AN ALBANIAN gang that smuggled illegal immigrants into the UK from Spanish ports has been broken up. 

Guardia Civil arrested nine people and made 11 searches in the operation which took in the cities and towns of Bilbao, Sestao, Santurce, Getxo and Bermeo, Eibar, Laredo and Almazora. 
The operation began at the beginning of 2018, when police detected a considerable increase in the number of Albanians intending to embark clandestinely to the United Kingdom, using ferries nd vessels that departed mainly from the Port of Santurce and others on the Cantabrian coast.  
Police suspected that there was an organised crime syndicate behind the large increase in migrants from mainly Albania who were using Spain as a transit country to reach the UK. 

Continuing with the investigations, the agents found that the organisation was made up of two cells, one operating in Bilbao-BarakaldoSestao and the other acting in other provinces to provide migrants, either from Albania or through contacts with intermediaries living in camps near the port of Santurce. 

The migrants were shipped to the UK as stowaways in trailers, containers, caravans, trunks of vehicles parked in the restricted parking of shipping companies, and lorries parked in rest areas near the ports, waiting to embark on ferries. 
The ports used by the organization included Santander, Vigo, Ferrol, Ribadeo, Gijón, Avilés, Pasajes and finally Valencia and Castellón. 
A police spokesman said: “It is important to highlight the functioning of these organisations since the risk to the life or physical integrity of the migrant acquires special relevance in the different phases of concealment.” 
The detainees have been charged with an alleged continuous crime against the rights of foreign citizens, crime against property and socioeconomic order, false documentation and crimes against public health. The charges are linked to the use of stolen credit cards, theft of diesel, burglary and running marihuana plantations. 

During the course of the investigation the British NCA (NationalCrime Agency), the French National Police and EUROPOL collaborated in the exchange of information. 

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Written by

Dilip Kuner

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